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Man pleads not guilty to molestation charge

by Rob Burgess - rburgess@wabashplaindealer.com

Ryan T. Arwood, 26, of New Palestine pleaded not guilty last week to multiple felony charges in Wabash Superior Court. 

The charges included three counts of child molesting fondling or touching with a child under 14, one count of possession of child pornography and one count of child molesting where the defendant is at least 21 years of age.

According to the probable cause affidavit filed by the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Department of Child Services requested an investigation after a report was left on the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Arwood was applying for a merit deputy position with the Wells County Sheriff’s Department when he was asked to take a polygraph test Sept. 4. During the examination, Arwood admitted to getting erections while caring for the victim at his home at the time in Lafontaine once a week.

In a subsequent Sept. 16 interview, Arwood said he had nude photographs on his phone, in addition to six photos and two videos saved to an email, the affidavit stated.

Arwood underwent a second polygraph examination on Sept. 20, this time with the ISP.

During that examination, the affidavit continued, Arwood admitted to sexual contact with the child. Arwood then wrote a letter of apology to the family of the child, who had first gotten to know him when they had worked at the Wabash County Jail, according to the affidavit.

The trial dates have been set for 8:30 a.m. Feb. 11-12. The pretrial conference has been set for 1 p.m. Jan. 13. As a condition of his $75,000 bond, Arwood is to have no direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim or the alleged victim’s family.